McDowell Park Association
A regular hiking program is offered monthly at Rio Verde, during the winter season. This has continued to be a way to discover and learn about the Sonoran Desert and the nearby mountain areas and to expand our appreciation of the beautiful area surrounding us.
November through April, a trained leader conducts a monthly hike, available to all Verdes area residents. Hike information is posted on billboards in the post office, the Rio Verde Community Center, and the Tonto Verde clubhouse. Information is also listed on the community RV channel and in the Roadrunner.
This selection of hikes is not complete, but it offers information about some of the destinations for those who wish to hike on their own or with guests. It is not meant to compete with the several excellent books available on the subject. This is a listing of several nearby hiking destinations chosen by the authors, with directions from the Verdes. It can allow you to be the local expert when you have family or friends visiting. You may choose a hike from this guide and know it has been user-tested by your neighbors.
We caution you that circumstances and degree of difficulty may change. Trail maintenance is inconsistent in some areas, and summer monsoon rains can wash out portions of a trail. All persons taking hikes do so at their own risk, and the authors, the Rio Verde Community Association, The Tonto Verde Association, and Rio Verde Development cannot accept any liability for omissions or errors in these contents, or for mishaps or injuries occurring on these hikes.
One or more of us have done all of these hikes, most several times. The hike ratings are for the average hiker in the Rio Verde retirement community, and in general are rated at a somewhat higher degree of difficulty than the ratings used in hiking guides for the general public. If there are restrooms at or near the trailhead, that fact will be noted.
GUIDE TO RATINGS:
Easy: Good trail with few slopes or areas of loose rock. Three miles or less.
Easy to Moderate: Some slopes, loose rock, and/or uneven footing. Still suitable for most walkers.
Moderately Difficult: Some climbing, loose rock, and/or uneven footing. May be longer, with more elevation gain/descent.
Difficult: Some steep climbs/descents, with loose rock or uneven footing. Longer, usually with substantial elevation change.
ALL HIKERS SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE FOLLOWING:
Destinations which are in state or regional parks have an entry fee, usually per car but sometimes per person. Those in the Tonto National Forest require (for designated trailhead parking areas) a day pass displayed on the dashboard or rear view mirror, but they are not necessary for roadside parking. This pass is available ($6 per car) at the Rio Verde Village Market, at most Circle K convenience stores, and at Tonto Forest Ranger Stations. A senor pass ($3) is also available at some locations, to be used in conjunction with the National Parks Golden Age Passport.
Do not hike alone. Let others know where you are hiking. Carry a cell phone (service may be spotty or unavailable in remote areas).
The best time to hike is on weekdays----fewer people on the trails then.
A good map of the area is desirable to supplement our directions.
Wear sturdy footwear with good ankle support and tread.
Use extra caution on downhill slopes to avoid slipping. A walking stick is helpful.
Take more water than you think is necessary!
Wear a hat and use sunscreen.
Carry a comb, small tweezers, or small pliers for cactus spine removal.
Do not step or put your hands on or into places you cannot see clearly. Poisonous snakes will strike if disturbed or stepped on.
For long hikes in unfamiliar territory, take extra clothing, a whistle (as a location device) and matches. A small mirror is also a good way to identify your location to others (by reflecting sunlight).
Hike information submitted by Bob Mason, Dave Gillman, and Jim Urban